Plainfield village board budget talks focus on public works department

Streets division expects budget to increase 1.7 percent in 2016-17

By Andrea Earnest | Enterprise Staff

The Plainfield Village Board’s discussion of its 2016-17 fiscal year budget continued at its Oct. 26 Committee of the Whole meeting with a presentation from the village’s public works department.

Allen Persons, director of public works, gave an overview of street maintenance and repairs, the department’s responsibilities during weather-related emergencies and the village’s forestry program.

According to the presentation, Persons said public works typically performs more than 700 street light repairs each year. Recently, the department has started adding LED lights within the village. He said 500 of these lights have been added throughout Plainfield so far.

Persons added that the village pays a reduced rate for LED lights and said the hope is to convert more lights to LED.

Trustee Bill Lamb asked about the public works department’s chain of command during emergency events, such as blizzards.

“Ultimately, the responsibility falls on my shoulders,” Persons said, adding that there is a crew leader on each shift that could make decisions if he is unavailable.

Lamb said language should be added regarding the chain of command in the public works “snow removal” handbook.

Trustee Jim Racich added that he didn’t think there was a community near Plainfield that is as prepared as the village’s public works department.

Persons also spoke about the Plainfield Forestry Program, which removed 1,750 parkway ash trees this year.

“We will not have another 1,700 or 1,800 tree [removal] year again,” Persons said, noting that the village only has a limited number of Ash trees that still need to be removed next year.

He added that 303 new trees were planted in October and 400 trees are scheduled to be planted in November.

“That will bring us up to about 900 trees for this year, which will be the highest amount we’ve ever planted in any given year,” Persons added.

Traci Pleckham, director of management services, then gave an overview of the department’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. She said the streets division’s budget would increase 1.7 percent from 2015-16, when $3.36 million was for the department.

The proposed budget for the utilities division is about $30,000 more than 2015-16.

“It’s a pretty flat budget, for all intents and purposes,” Pleckham said.

Pleckham added that the snow removal budget will be about $280,000, compared with $234,000 last year.

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